Kristen Greening is a professional communications coordinator and full time lover of Melbourne.
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Published February 3rd 2013
Definition of hipster: a person who follows the latest trends and fashions.
Another definition is a subculture of men and women who value independent thinking, counter-culture and progressive politics. They have an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence and witty banter.
But if you really want to know what a hipster is, I recommend Googling it – the internet is full of people trying to define what it is that makes a hipster, and why they can be so annoying.
In Melbourne, the hipster Mecca is currently the quirky suburb of Northcote, although surely not for long - in the hipster world, nothing stays in vogue for very long.
[ADVERT]Northcote has much to offer in way of food, drink and culture, but it can be a scary place. Where do you go in this ever-trendy sea of restaurants, bars, trucks and vendors, and what should you expect?
Here's a brief summary of how to survive Northcote.
Yes, this place is trendy. As soon as you walk in and see the old school diner style furniture and décor, you may feel the desire to turn around and find something more mainstream appropriate. But stick with it, the staff are friendly and they will accept you, even if you don't own a pair of chinos.
As with most places in Northcote, Palomino is a converted house complete with original wallpaper. A living room bar in the back still delivers that cosy feeling that will make you think of an intimate night at home. Retro green lino covered outdoor furniture in the courtyard will remind you of something you're used to seeing at your nana's house. The Strictly Ballroom-esque lights set a relaxed and summery mood.
Although staff are very attentive and friendly, always filling up drinks and happy to have a chat or answer a query, the food can take quite a while to come out. But it is delicious - the pork sliders are a highlight.
Purple Emerald Lounge Bar 349 High Street
When you first see this place, you'll be reminded of those little bars you find down laneways in Melbourne's CBD – and that's exactly what it is. After 16 years located on Flinders Lane, Purple Emerald moved to Northcote and it looks exactly the same. Perhaps not as trendy as its retro neighbours, it offers plush velvet furniture, delicious cocktails made by extremely competent and friendly staff and live jazz/soul/funk music complete with rotating disco ball.
The courtyard out the back is more of a traditional bar courtyard with large communal tables and benches. It offers a nice sunny respite from all the à la mode people wandering around on a Sunday afternoon.
If you're looking for a place where you can relax, don't need to be wearing something from an op-shop, and drink a cocktail without being asked your thoughts on how social inequality was represented in To Kill A Mockingbird, this is the place for you.
61 High Street
This place is worth the coolness inadequacies you may experience due to the hipster crowd. Another renovated house, the beautiful original framework, doors and most fittings makes it easy to imagine how it may have been to live in Northcote in the olden days.
The front bar has an old world New York feel to it – you can imagine walking in and seeing the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall lounging around in a smokey haze. The back offers comfy booths that can fit a group quite easily and a fireplace that's perfect for winter nights. The courtyard maintains its old-garage feel, but the fairy lights and ample furniture make it adequately comfortable.
A great selection of wines and cocktails are offered, as well as some tasty snacks and deserts. Staff are friendly and happy to assist. And if your interest in the world of hipsters has blossomed during your time in Northcote, the table in the window offers the perfect vantage point to observe this off-beat subculture.